Wednesday 08 February 2023

Two more Dutch families head for Syria, taking their children

A Muslim family from Amersfoort with three children and a second family from Utrecht are thought to have moved to Syria last weekend, according to Dutch media reports.

The families were also in touch with the two families from Huizen who were stopped from leaving last Friday evening when they were arrested and their children were taken into care, the Volkskrant said.

Three of the four Huizen parents are said to be European converts to Islam and have since been released from custody. Child protection officials will decide on Monday if their children can be returned to them. The fourth parent, a 34-year-old man, remains in jail.

War zone

Amersfoort mayor Lucas Bolsius confirmed he was informed that a family had left for Syria and the counter-terrorism unit NCTV is also aware of their departure. ‘We do what we can to stop people leaving but in practice that is impossible,’ an NCTV spokesman said.

However, officials try to stop families leaving because the government ‘does not want parents to take their children from a safe Dutch environment to a war zone’.

The Amersfoort father is said to be Jermaine Walters, brother of Jason Walters who served a lengthy prison sentence for throwing a grenade at police in 2004. His wife Meryam is said to be a friend of the Utrecht mother, named as Yasmina by the Volkskrant.

Jermaine and Jason – who have a Dutch mother and American father – are also both Muslim converts and both were connected to the Hofstad group, a loose alliance of radical Muslims said to be plotting terrorist offences in the Netherlands. Jason has since renounced Islam.

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